By now, we're probably used to AAA games having season passes, cosmetic additions and other bits and bobs of DLC. But it seems like we're getting even more of it now, and much of it doesn't seem worth the asking price.
Let's start with Batman: Arkham Knight. Rocksteady makes great stuff, so surely they can get away with charging a whopping $40 for a season pass, right? So far, the offerings have been pretty bare -- alternate costumes, story missions that take less than an hour to beat, and challenge rooms that just wall off existing parts of Gotham. Allegedly better stuff is coming
, but for now, that extra $40 hasn't paid off.
Then there's "insurance" in Metal Gear Solid 5. The game lets you build Forward Operating Bases that can generate all kinds of goodies for you -- but random online players can raid it and take some of it away. All this can happen when you're offline too. I've heard varying stories about how much stuff gets swiped (ranging from "not much at all" to "loads of crap"), but Konami has a solution. If you pay insurance, your invaders get stuff when they invade, but your stuff doesn't actually vanish. This costs coins, which of course can be purchased with real money.
Right now, Square seems to be the biggest purveyor of wacky add-on crap. The new Deus Ex had a now-cancelled scheme where preorder people got more crap as more and more people pre-ordered -- I'll spare you the details but head here
if you want your brain to hurt. Now Rise of the Tomb Raider has a bunch of microtransactions for stuff that used to be included with games gratis. If you want to play a new game plus, you'll have to pay up.
Edit: Never mind, that was an apparent miscommunication.
What's going on here? Are all these things just coincidence, or are publishers getting so desperate for money they're willing to get really annoying with their pitches?
Really not digging the microtransaction trend in games, though. It feels like publishers are going to keep pushing to see what they can get away with, and we're going to end up with $60 "free to play" games.
Oh! Also eff you in the face, Square! Locking New Game+ in Tomb Raider (a highly requested feature in the first game IIRC) behind a $30 season pass is just... so bad.
Pretty good timing. I was about to buy Destiny, but if what this article says is true--that the DLC effectively removes functionality that used to be there until you pay for it again--well, no way. Definitely not supporting that business model. How big is my backlog? Plenty big. No need to give money to assholes.
Microtransactions can die in a fucking fire though. I've yet to see them used in a way I had a positive opinion of.
But when I'm reading articles about how developers are re-balancing the difficulty of the level as I play it, in order to get me to buy different boosts (link) . . . then it isn't so fun any more.
I don't mind spending a lot of money on games I like.
Having features taken away so they can be re-introduced in later versions is pretty annoying.
And while emotes, different re-skins, and other things that "don't affect gameplay" may seem like harmless microtranssactions,
when the developer/publisher looks at their numbers and see that resources put into making emotes/skins in multiple times more profitable than putting resources into story/polish/gamemopdes/raids/etc.
... you bet it won't be long until resources get redirected to the content that "doesn't affect gameplay".
The rumor with Destiny is that they'll be going this route. The emote money going into substantial, free DLC updates. Personally, I don't buy it and expect the second "expansion pass" to go on sale any day now. Why would Activision double dip when they can triple dip and hilariously (for them) have fanboys go out of their way to defend their shit.
Specifically Final Fantasy 14, where the only side purchases are cosmetic and optional, but they support that game on subscriptions and box sales and Yoshida and company would probably flip their shit if their bosses decided to try anything with that game after they've already had to allay people's worries when they first announced their Mogstation Cash shop. FF15 might end up being a different story, if they decide to go down this same path, but maybe their own baby is harder to nickel and dime compared to what they are doing with Eidos.
I really do think all this sort of thing boils down to video games just being insanely expensive to create and full of high developer turnover and constantly evolving platforms and technology to learn and relearn and keep up with. I've talked to a lot of my game design profs about life in the industry and the expenses involved and shit has just gotten so out of control to compete anymore from what they've told me, which is part of the reason they left the industry to a degree in order to teach. I'm not sure what you do to try and rein that in.
Mmmmm....it's always been a spectacularly brutal industry. I really don't think it's gotten worse. Have AAA games become more expensive? Sure, although the level of fidelity has gotten to the point I really think you're going to see costs start to flatten out a bit. As in, they will still rise, but I think at a much more reasonable level. As a dev, the pay for gaming vs. almost any other industry has held steady around 65-75% with rare exceptions for truly talented individuals or people willing to work 60-70 hour weeks.
But for mid-tier and indie games, marketing, publishing, and actual development have all become much easier, and much less expensive and intrusive on dev profits. The bar for art and sound has soared, but 1 dev can now do better what it used to take 4 or 5, so that sort of evens out.
I mean, what'll kill you now is the sheer quality and amount of competition on any freaking platform you care to name. But it might beat seeing your publisher and retailers take 95% of your revenue.
What I'm more concerned with when it comes to the larger budget games is
a) the demand from owners/publishers to maximize profits (being profitable isn't enough), and
b) how most games need a marketing budget that's at least 50% of the development one, in order to have a fighting chance.
Seeing great games pass under everyone's radar and only selling thousands of copies is painful.
Well, "New Game Plus" as the latest entry does not surprise me one damn bit.
Tomb Raider's new game plus is not locked behind any kind of monetary pay wall.
PSN/Steam/NNID: SyphonBlue | BNet: SyphonBlue#1126
This is in the article @cloudeagle posted, right after a list of microtransactions. So while I understand the confusion the op is incorrect.
Games are more expensive to make because more and more games are using world size or graphics as a replacement for story.
The way that's formatted, combined with this whole... card system unlocking shit, with normal cards only "temporarily unlocking", with the rare foil ones being permanent...
Well look, I'm not entirely filled with confidence here.
Game development is in a really fucked place where budgets have gotten too bloated and a game needs to make over seven figures just to break even. Preorder bonuses and DLC are ways publishers have come up with to reduce this risk. In some ways it seems fine: hey let's use these assets to make what is effectively an expansion pack. I think the problem is you have to invest MORE money because people don't just want rehashed environments and enemies. So basically you get something overpriced.
Also, the comparative costs of new things to iterative updates (Monster Hunter, Street Fighter, etc. - a lot of series where they release new games that draw heavily on existing software and/or assets). Also, comparisons between handheld and console, different genres, etc.
I'm worried about how things are going with it - the way budgets get could easily lead to backlash from excessive microtransactions and things, or too many things becoming yearly minor updates.
works as well as it always did
Those kinds of things are not cool.
a huge chunk of the games that have DLC do that in some fashion.
In my eyes, this is deceit even before you consider what is for sale.
Wait...what chunk of the story did I not get to see because Amazon decided to cancel my preorder and I ended up buying on the day of release from a Gamestop? I honestly didn't feel like I missed anything relevant to the narrative the three times I've played through the game.
This is how it works. When you have relatively pointless side missions that don't do anything new gameplay-wise and don't advance the story, but are present in the base game, then they are pointless filler used to pad out the game's run time. But you take those same missions, and sell them as DLC, and suddenly they're an integral aspect of the story being blocked behind a paywall.
No how it actually works is this. You're told to make an exclusive mission (for one console, or as pre-order, or whatever). "Make it seem really good so that people will want it!" is the directive. Because obviously that helps with marketing it. "Exclusive mission where you get to play as the Joker, only on Ps3" sounds tempting as shit if you already WANT the thing.
BUT the developers aren't dumb. You wouldn't put the best part as the hidden, exclusive DLC. Then a large part of your players would miss the best part and not realize how good your game was and tell their friends to buy it. So you kinda crap something out and call it a day.
But now it's shitty two ways. The part of your players that didn't get it feel cheated, the marketing went out if its way to make it sound cool, remember. And the people who DID get it are vaguely disappointed that the cool idea wasn't fully developed, because you decided that would be a waste of valuable resources.
In short, exclusive shit sucks.
I don't think we're contradicting each other, but talking about two completely different perspectives. Yes, preorder DLC is typically complete rubbish, the people behind it are assholes, and gamers often feel screwed by it one way or the other. But I'm talking about the people that just feel this need to make DLC seem much more important than it really is just to further justify their righteous anger about it.
Every thread/comments section on this, you see a variations of the same post. "They're cutting vital parts of the game out to sell you later as DLC." But the vast majority of it is stuff that you would write off as filler if it were in the base game. They're just exaggerating the importance of the content for the sole purpose of getting angrier about it.
It's not an essential bit - as noted it was somewhat filler. The game flows fine without it, but it's kind of jarring - I think you get the cutscene that would lead into it but not the one out, so you kind of end up in the next area without a clear idea of how you got there.
There are things that are, to me, worthless DLC, and then there is DLC that I do buy
But I've never once felt like I was owed anything that was being sold to separately
Also, yes, the OP is wrong regarding Tomb Raider's New Game+
At the moment, the total cost of all of the DLC is getting close to $200. It's something that some people considering the game take one look at and go "LOL NOPE!" But with that said, all of the DLC expands on the base game, and the never ending DLC for the game serves to fund continued development in the game. CK2 is a bigger, better game than it was on release, even for people who have not purchased any of the DLC.
That doesn't really apply to this thread? I mean, nothing is being cut out of the game because you didn't pay $15,000. It's not exactly "nickel and diming" you in that regard. The person who buys in at $35 has access to the exact same content as the person who shells out $15,000 (okay, I guess the $35 person wouldn't have alpha access).
Except that you can get those in-game without having to pay real-money for them, too.
Then we remember the pre-order BS of Watchdogs. I wanted to play that game, but shit kept coming that killed my resolve to play it, from the graphics not being what was advertised, to the fact that to get all the DLC pre-order shit, you'd need to buy the game like 5 times in three different countries, yeah. Fuck AAA gaming. It's not that I won't pay for DLC, it's that I want my money's worth from it. If I'm going to buy an expansion/add-on/skins/ect, then make it worth it. I'm not going to pay $5 for a skin that's on the disc already but locked until their server tells my console it's cool to give me it.
The problem is AAA gaming is watching the mobile market and seeing people like King make Millions off games like Candy Crush and it's just a match three game. It probably cost them $1,000 to make it and they made bank, and even games that aren't that big are still rolling in $$$ just because someone will pay $.99 for an extra life. And unlike AAA games, where once you've beaten it, unless there is some multiplayer or alt ending stuff, it's just a $60 purchase. The mobile games with their microtransactions will continue to make their people money months or years after they quit updating them. AAA wants that kind of continuous bank flow. So we get this stupid shit. And it's still stupid even for the mobile games. Unless I'm supporting keeping multiplayer servers alive, like with MMOs, I don't want to keep paying a game for another life. Some of these games in the mobile market require you to pay by keeping content behind premium tokens. I know The Sims for the mobile had items that required tokens, which could only be gain through rare quest that had like a 1% chance of coming up, or with real money. However, the more common quests required you to have these items, so you'd go "well, I want to complete these quests and the tokens are $.99 for one, or $4.99 for 5... that's like buying a Big Mac!" and you spend money on their shit. The only way to get rid of this problem is stop buying their shit but there are too many stupid people who will for us to really change things. So get used to having to buy the next mission on a game you paid $60 for. Or getting pwned in Multiplayer because you aren't going to get the Juggernaut Armor DLC and this frat boy did and is teabagging you with every kill.
yeah but not immediately, you'd have to work long and hard for it. So that's more pay to win than nickel and dime.
Actually, you have to pay a higher subscription to get more bank space, and crafting requires you to use all crafting classes. Default bank space is not enough to craft with all classes. That's gameplay.
This makes me kind of skeptical of the claims that AAA publishers just can't get by anymore without their precious little in game store fronts.
I'm no longer okay with microtransactions or DLC that isn't a substantial content package. The only game that really seemed to do it right is LoL; everyone who is not Riot Games inevitably goes overboard and starts doing pay-to-win bullshit and/or holding hostage all of their not-half-assed artwork as 'cosmetic DLC' (sorry, but it doesn't really count if everything other than the 'cosmetic DLC' looks like you churned it out of Blender in half an hour).
Mobile games need to have a gigantic legislative & regulatory hammer come crashing down on their predatory skulls.
Yeah, I love Riots way of doing microtransaction. To get the LP to buy a character doesn't take that long, and with the free characters rotating each week, you can try before you buy. And the skins are normally good so I don't mind giving them some money for a skin for my favorite character. And it doesn't change anything if Joe Blow buys a character and I grind for it, he still has to learn to use the character and I can use my favorites until then. I think I spent $10 on LoL buying my two characters (TF and Catylin back in the day) and left the rest up to points I earned.
So they are starting off less in the red than a comparable game that's loaded with DRM.
I thought "P2W" was more like being able to buy a special thing that couldn't be otherwise acquired in-game. A fictitious example would be a mech that can only be bought from the online store that will take appreciably less damage (and/or ignores weapon heat) in Mechwarrior Online.
A less fictitious (but also less egregious) example would be WoT's gold ammo.